Exploration of 1,9-Pyrazoloanthrones as a Copious Reserve for Multifarious Chemical and Biological Applications
Prasad, Karothu Durga
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Pyrazoloanthrone and its analogues form the central core of the thesis and the work is focused on the evaluation of chemical and biological applications of pyrazoloanthrones. Selective and sensitive detection of biologically, environmentally and industrially important molecular species such as fluoride, cyanide and picric acid by using pyrazoloanthrones as sensors form the first part while the second part deals with selective and specific kinase inhibition by pyrazoloanthrones to moderate inflammation associated disorders like septic shock. All the investigations are based on extensive crystallographic studies of the participating molecules. Chapter 1 provides a brief review on the history and biological importance of 1,9-pyrazoloanthrones. The potential of these molecules as probes in sensor chemistry and protein kinase inhibition is envisaged. A short account of the techniques employed for the investigations along with a preamble is presented. Chapter 2 is divided into two parts. Part A deals with the design of a colorimetric and “turn-on” fluorescent chemosensor based on 1,9-pyrazoloanthrone specifically for cyanide and fluoride ion detection. A remarkable solid state reaction indicated by the development of intense red color occurs when crystals of tetrabutylammonium cyanide/fluoride are brought in physical contact with 1,9¬pyrazoloanthrone resulting in corresponding molecular complexes (Figure 1). X-ray crystal structures of these complexes and also of 1,9-pyrazoloanthrone have been determined and the ion sensing activity has been substantiated on the basis of spectroscopic (absorption, fluorescence and NMR) and structural analyses. The crystal structure of the parent compound exhibits a disorder as a consequence of tautomerism and the disorder gets carried on to the complexes as well with even the cyanide and the fluoride ions showing partial occupancy sites. The presence of the –NH group and associated intramolecular charge transfer upon complex formation is attributed to the extreme sensitivity of 1,9-pyrazoloanthrone for cyanide and fluoride (detection limits of 0.2 ppb and 2 ppb) ions respectively. Figure 1. Development of intense red color during the solid state reaction (shown on left) and the turn on fluorescence behavior (shown to the right) Part B demonstrates the utilization of electron rich N-alkyl substituted pyrazoloanthrones to design sensors for detecting explosive and electron deficient nitro aromatics such as picric acid (PA). The N-alkyl derivative of 1,9-pyrazoloanthrone has been synthesized, characterized by single crystal X-ray diffraction studies and evaluated as a potent sensor for picric acid. NMR and fluorescence lifetime measurements validate that the fluorescence quenching of sensor compound by PA (Figure 2) as due to the formation of excited state charge-transfer complex resulting in dynamic quenching. Figure 2. Fluorescence quenching measurements demonstrating the dynamic quenching in the charge transfer complex. Chapter 3 deals with the biological evaluation of 1,9-pyrazoloanthrone and its alkyl derivatives towards the inhibition of a decisive protein kinase called c-Jun N-terminal Kinase (JNK), an important member of MAP kinase family. JNK controls crucial cellular processes like apoptosis and cell proliferation and is implicated in disorders associated with inflammation such as septic shock, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc. Therapeutic inhibition of JNK activity by small molecules has proven to be advantageous in the treatment of diseases coupled with derailed inflammation. In this context, it is already established that 1,9-pyrazoloanthrone (SP600125) effectively and selectively inhibits JNK at concentrations beyond 10 M. A series of alkyl isomers of pyrazoloanthrone derivatives have been synthesized to evaluate the structural implications of inhibition and to elevate both selectivity and sensitivity at lower concentrations. The crystal structures of these isomers have been characterized and their utility as inhibitors has been tested for their in vitro inhibitory activity over c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). The minimum inhibitory concentrations required by these molecules to inhibit JNK was found to be lesser as compared to 1,9-pyrazoloanthrone (<5 µM; Figure 3). Critically, it turns out that among the various inhibitors synthesized, the lead candidates SPP1 and SPB1 display specific inhibition of JNK among other LPS activated MAP kinases like ERK1/2 and p38. These results suggest that N-alkyl (propyl and butyl) bearing pyrazoloanthrone scaffolds provide promising therapeutic inhibitors for JNK in regulating inflammation associated disorders. Figure 3. Inhibition of JNK in macrophages by the SPP1 and SPB1 compared to the known SP600125. Inspired by the results reported in the previous chapter, Chapter 4 is devoted to the generation of a library of compounds based on SPP1 and SPB1 with a purpose to design inhibitors of JNK which perform at the lowest possible concentrations and the consequent evaluation of their potential on endotoxin induced septic shock. Severe sepsis or septic shock is one of the rising causes for mortality worldwide representing nearly 10% of intensive care unit admissions. Susceptibility to sepsis is identified to be mediated by innate pattern recognition receptors and responsive signaling pathways of the host. The c-Jun N-terminal Kinase (JNK)-mediated signaling events play critical role in bacterial infection triggered multi-organ failure, cardiac dysfunction and mortality. Figure 4. Two selected molecules for specific inhibition studies of JNK at lower concentrations. It is demonstrated that alkyl and halogen substitution on the periphery of anthrapyrazolone increases the binding potency of the inhibitors specifically towards JNK. Based on the results from both in vitro with macrophages and in vivo with the mouse model of septicemia, the potential role of two selected molecules D1 and D2 (Figure 4) in regulating endotoxin induced inflammation is firmly established. Further, it is demonstrated that hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions generated by these small molecules effectively block endotoxin-induced inflammatory genes expression in in vitro and septic shock in vivo, in a mouse model, with remarkable efficacies. Altogether, the in vitro as well as the in vivo data clearly potentiates the selective inhibitory capacity of small molecule inhibitors like D1 and D2 which can facilitate the treatment of current inflammatory disorders when used in combination with the available drugs having varied efficacies. The results rationalize the significance of the diversity oriented synthesis of small molecules for selective inhibition of JNK and their potential in the treatment of severe sepsis.